Fire Prevention Week occurs each October to encourage communities to prevent fires in the workplace and in their homes. With proper planning and preparation, businesses can take big steps to avoid the dangers of commercial fires and the destruction they cause. Use these tips from the experts at ServiceMaster Restore® to take part in Fire Prevention Week and learn how to help prevent a fire in your facility.
Tips for Commercial Fire Prevention
According to the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA), an estimated 96,800 fires occurred in nonresidential buildings in 2016 alone. The USFA report states that these fires resulted in over two billion dollars in losses. To help prevent your business from catching fire and causing extreme damage and expensive repairs, make sure your employees are involved in fire prevention awareness. Provide them with these fire prevention tips during Fire Prevention Week to help reduce your risk of a workplace fire incident:
Keep Workplace Areas Free of Clutter
Workplaces are prone to clutter, which can become a fire hazard if left unchecked. If a fire starts near a cluttered area, the flames can spread much more quickly. Have employees double check their workspaces and remove any unnecessary clutter. Then, inspect emergency exits and other escape routes to ensure there are no fire hazards in the way. These spaces should always be open and unblocked by furniture or business-related assets.
Avoid Overloading Circuits and Outlets
According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), some type of electrical failure or malfunction contributed to the ignition of an estimated 16,070 non-home structure fires every year between 2010 and 2014. This specific type of fire resulted in an average of 630 million dollars in damage annually.
There are many hazards with electrical cords in the workplace. Overloaded circuits can cause products to overheat and possibly catch fire. Other times, wires within the walls can overheat, causing a fire to ignite. Sometimes, circuit breakers can malfunction, which could result in a fire. To stay protected from an electrical fire, follow these tips:
- Never overload circuits, outlets or surge protectors.
- Never connect an extension cord or a power strip to another extension cord or power strip.
- Only use extension cords temporarily.
- Replace worn, old or damaged extension cords immediately.
- Only use one heat-producing appliance, such as coffee makers, in an outlet at any given time.
- Try not to run electrical cords across doorways or under carpets.
Keep Heat-Producing Equipment Away From Fuel Sources
Some pieces of equipment produce more heat than others. Identify which equipment used in your business runs hot, such as copiers, and keep that equipment in areas that are free of fuel sources. For example, the copier room should be well-organized, and all excess paper should be stored and discarded appropriately.
Check Smoke Alarms Regularly
Once a month, someone should test your facility’s smoke alarms and smoke detectors. These items should also be replaced every 10 years to ensure that if a fire does break out, everyone will be alerted and have time to react to the situation.
Practice Evacuation and Business Continuity Plans
A business continuity plan can help you minimize disruptions, lessen financial losses and prevent you from closing your company permanently in the event of a disaster. Make sure your continuity plan includes all necessary evacuation plans and processes, including how you might be able to keep the business running during the recovery process. Then, practice your plans with all staff members to help ensure they can prepare for, react to and recover from a work-related emergency.
By taking part in Fire Prevention Week, you and your staff can gain awareness about fire hazards and crucial safety and prevention measures. For information about how to get involved in Fire Prevention Week in your home, read our residential Fire Prevention Month tips.
In the unfortunate event that a fire does break out in your business, call on the professionals to help get your doors back open fast. Our commercial fire and smoke damage removal services include a variety of restoration services to help get you back to business, including electronics restoration, document and data recovery, and building restoration.